"I have a confession to make: I do enjoy the occasional cigarette. I can just imagine, as the sun goes down, sitting there with my beard flowing down to my knees just puffing away at a cigarette.
"I know I shouldn't say this and it's a terrible thing. In fact I hope my children don't hear this programme because they don't even know I smoke," the Liberal Democrat leader said on Radio 4's Desert Island Discs programme.
The father-of-three goes on to describe himself as a "loser" for failing to convert his popularity after the televised leadership debates into votes.
He claims that he and British Prime Minister David Cameron bonded over their shared sense of failure.
"There was a genuine view that we both share that no one had won the election, we were all losers," the 'Daily Mail' quoted Clegg as saying.Recalling the day he began the talks with Cameron that led to the coalition, he admits: "We didn't know each other. I even texted a friend of mine who I knew knew him a bit, 'Can I trust this guy?'" Clegg does not say how his friend responded but is at pains to point out that, on meeting the Prime Minister, he was convinced of his sincerity